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Writer Wednesday : Follow the leader?

It's a big world. Get off the beaten path.

I often hear people quote (or misquote) famous author's writing advice. "Editing means minus ten percent." "Writing is like driving in the dark. You can only see to the edges of the lights." "Make a word count goal and stick to it every day." And on and on.

If writing is a creative process, why do we follow and repeat this advice?

Because as writers, we live face to face with our doubt. We are always looking for a way to relieve the risk of translating the words from our head to our page and screens. Following the leader seems like the best way to make sure we're on the right track.

If Stephen King does this, then I must be doing the right thing. If Janet Evanavich does that, then I'm bound to be successful. If Earnest Hemingway didn't use adverbs/adjectives, I won't either.

Writing is about finding and keeping to your own track.

Following someone else's advice won't relieve your doubt. It will only make you certain you're doing it wrong. Doing it someone else's way is doing it wrong.

Stop following the leaders.

Find your own track.

Listen to your own muse.

Edit in the way that makes sense to you.